Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

Venezuelans Lead List of AQ’s Top 5 Latin American Academics

Our list includes two honorees from the region’s most troubled country – plus an astronomer, a mathematician, and a pioneering biotech engineer.

The news out of Venezuela lately has been awful. But one of the great untold stories is the vast number of talented Venezuelans, many of whom live abroad, who will hopefully be called upon one day to help put their marvelous country back together.

Here at Americas Quarterly, we were reminded of that amazing pool of human resources when we put together our list of Latin America’s Top 5 academics. Venezuela ended up being the only country with two honorees – Mónica Ponce de León, the dean of Princeton University’s School of Architecture (both the first woman and Latin American to hold that prestigious position), and Ricardo Hausmann, who for two decades has been one of the world’s leading economists.

“I remain optimistic for Venezuela,” Hausmann told AQ. He noted that the current crisis is “manmade” – which means the solutions will be, too.

Also on our list: Artur Avila, a 37-year-old mathematician from Brazil who won the prestigious Fields Medal and has done pioneering work on the field’s “10 martini problem” (No, we didn’t know what it was, either); Agustín Lage, the father of Cuban immunology who worked with the United States long before the recent thaw in relations; and María Teresa Ruiz González, a trailblazing astronomer who broke gender barriers, and others, in Chile.

Overall, we think it’s a formidable collection of minds, in a region that usually doesn’t get enough attention for its human capital. Latin America has lots of reasons for hope.

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Any opinions expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect those of Americas Quarterly or its publishers.
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